Gossip holds that Hello Sadness is a breakup album. It seems possible that Gareth Campesino is living a breakup life, so it is not surprising that the fourth LP from the British pop rock outfit sounds a lot like the first three. From the opening chorus of "By Your Hand," the pieces are in place: anthem choruses, twee punk arrangements and lyrics about the moment you realize that you're going to stop liking someone later.
That moment seems to have spread to the entire album, which takes the form of a Los Campesinos! record without the defiant energy. Partly it is Gareth's continuing tendency toward Robert Smith, at least in his vocals. But the songs here are suffused with a kind of resignation that echoes Gareth's dire acknowledgements, in interviews, that a band with seven people in it can only survive for so long.
It's as if Los Campesinos! are getting tired of Los Campesinos!. The feeling is contagious. I've been listening to this band obsessively for five years now, so when Gareth sings "I'm not sure if it's love anymore / but I've been thinking of you fondly for sure," I know exactly what he's talking about.